I have traveled extensively, more than most, probably, as well as moved a whole lot and flown quite a bit. None of it was for work, it was always with or for friends and family, sometimes missions projects. Throughout all of it, I have met let people who may smile po!itely if you smile first but mostly just try to ignore or tolerate other people’s existence to get where they are going. Not generally a great time to mingle. Lol But there have been these moments on rare occasions when I was pressed by something weighing on my shoulders and happened to have some kind soul go out of their way to help and give a word of encouragement or even share food when my wallet was stolen. Then you never meet again but these momentary or chance encounters matter. Whether God sent them to help or not, they did indeed help and expected nothing in return. How refreshing it was at the time! How beautiful for so some to put themselves out of the way and help, take the time, put forth the effort to voice a concern or encouragement. I have tried to repay these kindnesses over the years and keep going to give hope and help when needed. Often it does not take long but is a great opportunity with to serve our fellow man with elegance and grace befitting a child of God. Never underestimate the power of a loving act or word. You might make all the difference in someone’s life or the world. You never know who you are helping. And whenever you help another of God’s handmade creation, you are always helping and worshipping God Himself.
To chance or not to chance, that is this question. My mom, being only 20 when I was born, taught me that sometimes things just happen. Since I was a young child, I pondered reasons and meaning behind everything that happened to me or other people and I distinctly remember my mom’s frustration at my persistent questions (must have been so annoying) to the point where she said that some things just happen, opening the door to the idea of chance. I thought a lot about chance and the idea of it, studied it in school, explored it in games. I realized that chance has very slim chances of existing. There are laws of physics, laws of math, laws of science, facts that have certainty that dictate it to be so. Some items that do not have brains of their own may have statistical chance of happening, such as a coin you toss. But even that can be guided by wind or a strong magnet or a skilled thrower. There is a myriad of things that effect a myriad of things. There are forces at work upon the forces at work also, spiritual forces, wind forces, water forces, all which may be commanded by One stronger than they are. Is it chance or design? Is it chance or purposeful test or blessing? Is it chance or skill that some win and some lose? I decided that chance is off the table of possibility. My mom in her youth had not yet grown her faith to heights of seeing the unseen reason behind occurrences. It was not chance that placed this little girl in a small town in Michigan. It was not chance that I had the church I had, the family I had, the bad to es I had, the good times I had, the school and teachers I had, etc. God’s hand is at work continuously. As is our enemy’s. And another controller is other people’s wills and underlying motivations. The last piece of the puzzle is our own wills. We often cause much of what happens in our life. With so many controllers at play, the chances of chance existing go way way down and the interplay of the divine and dastardly comes more into focus. Design is everywhere. Order is everywhere. Chance is an idea only, a phantom thought.
When confronted with inevitable trials, the stronger the better, we see people’s reactions and can see exactly where that person’s heart is. You see very little about a person’s internal workings when they are winning or all is going well for them. I believe, as this life determines the outcome of the next and is really just test after test, that we have the amazing blessing of an opportunity to prove our worth in God’s kingdom by our response to troubles. If a person has no troubles, we should pray for that person because they are about to have some. Good people and bad people have troubles just the same. If we keep in mind that the response we have to these difficulties determines where we will spend eternity, we will then have the healthy perspective we need to prosper through troubles of any kind. We have great examples of this in the Bible. We have David with Saul, where David’s lack of retaliation was in stark contrast to his being pursued unjustly. We have Paul and Silas who met with false imprisonment with singing and beatings with songs of praise. We have Deborah, who rose up to lead an army when their leader wasn’t man enough. We have us, when we meet with any injustice or turmoil. How will we be defined in our troubles? As a quitter? As a coward? As a bully? As a resentful person? As bitter or envious or cruel? As triumphant? We certainly have a lot of options. So, how do we decide our response? What can help us? The simple and profound answer is and will remain a close personal walk with God and firm grasp on His big picture, outlined in His Word, faith in Jesus as our Savior, and constant conversation with the only One bigger than any trial or even anything we know of the universe. Our knee jerk response is to handle it ourselves with our human tools. This is foolishness unless we are bigger and more powerful than our troubles. Chances are, we need help. If we can humble ourselves long enough to see that, God is released to work the trouble out. In fact, He goes a step farther and promises to help us when we ask Him for it. Wonderful stuff. So troubles not only show the world and ourselves what kind of relationship we have with the Divine but also grow us closer to Him by seeing Him work. Trials get us closer to heaven when we allow God to help us with them and they get us closer to God when we see His faithfulness and power and love for us.